My Media Week: Matt Bush

Matt Bush recovers from the team summer party, catches up with CEOs and starts the daunting task of Media Week Agency of the Year judging.


Get up early to do 40 minutes on the Wattbike and sweat out the weekend. I need a pretty good excuse not to do some kind of exercise most days, and with the new Jay Z album on, it’s a cracking start to the week.

I switch on the news and see two big positive stories – Jodie Whittaker becoming the first female Doctor Who and Carolyn McCall (my old boss at The Guardian) taking over as ITV chief executive. As a dad of three girls, these announcements are great news.

I get to work and all the chat is about the annual agency team summer party I hosted at my house on Friday. It was a huge event, a lot of fun and I’m delighted the team all had such a laugh (there was no major damage and everyone got home safely).

Monday is a day of back-to-back internal meetings. We always kick off the week with a "company all hands". This week my boss, UK country manager, Ronan Harris, hosts it. This kick off is a brilliant way to get everyone in a positive mood for the week ahead and pulling in the same direction.

After this, I host my team "all hands", a snappy 30-minute meeting, which always starts off very light hearted before we deep dive into a topic – this week it’s the customer satisfaction survey, something we take very seriously.


Alarm goes off too early so I spend 30 minutes in bed checking overnight emails… Okay, I was actually on Twitter.

Running shoes on and I go the usual eight miles around town. I’ve done this route so often my legs could carry themselves.

This morning I walk to Soho House to meet Tom Byrne, managing director from Merkle Periscopix, for breakfast. He’s a top lad and I haven’t seen him for a while so we have loads to catch up on – including art, family and holidays. Professionally, we discuss the integration of data in the Google stack, building out layers on Google Analytics 360, Google Cloud Platform and how to adopt AI.

It’s my wife’s birthday so I finish a little early to get home to a local restaurant for dinner. However, the kids really want to come and it’s a lovely evening so we change the venue and eat outside. It turns out to be a great night.


Thunderstorms, a scared dog and an excited daughter meant a rubbish night of sleep. But I'm still on the 05:56 to get to the gym for a training session with Calum, my personal trainer. He's [also] a top guy and also works at The Ned, so often has a celebrity to train – this week it’s the lead singer of a huge rock band. Today Calum has me doing bench presses and I break my PB for single rep max. I won't reveal what it is as you Media Fight Night guys will take the piss, but I'm delighted with it.

I head over to Nabs, chaired by the excellent Dags [Simon Daglish] from ITV. Good to see [Yahoo’s] Nigel Clarkson has shown up too, and great news that Stranger than Summer made £140k. The work Nabs is doing around wellbeing and work is groundbreaking and more important now than ever.

Straight to iProspect for a meeting with chief executive Stefan Bardega. He’s six months in the job now, it’s going well, and we have a good conversation about the next six months including machine learning, developments around voice search and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

I then have a quick meeting with Mark Howe, managing director of EMEA agencies at Google. We have loads coming up from September across EMEA agencies and, as the leading market, it's important the UK is fully aligned. He also tells me he’s off to be best man at a wedding in Romania over the weekend, 20 years after the last time he was best man. He'll be exhausted by next Monday.

I jump in a cab to see Paul Frampton, chief executive at Havas Media Group – they do have nice offices, after all. With Google moving to the same area over the next few years we chat about regeneration (King’s Cross might become the new Covent Garden), how media agencies pivot to support clients with broader marketing transformation and how PPC is neglected as a growth opportunity by too many agencies.

Back to the office for a meeting with the boss (Harris). We get straight into an expansive chat around how the landscape will look in 2020 and beyond, and what we need to do in 2018 to get there with agencies.

Eventually, I get home and (kind of) force my youngest (nine) to read with me over watching YouTube. I think I’m more into the book we’re reading together (Michael Morpurgo’s Listen to the Moon).


I get the train through to Farringdon for breakfast with Rachel Forde from Spark Foundry. Rachel is still buzzing about the launch of the new agency and new positioning. We talk about driving planning in a different direction. Rachel got a lot of out a programmatic studios session we did with her team yesterday so she wants to capitalise on that. Big piece of news related to that is she’s banning the use of TGI from 1 January to rely on real-time tools and insights such as Google Insights.

Then it's back to the office for video calls (VCs) with some of the Dublin guys. Dublin is really the heartbeat of the EMEA business and we an excellent chat about how we can bring some more of that expertise to the agency world.

Lunch is with Natalie Bell, managing director at Manning Gottlieb OMD. It’s been a long time since we had a proper catch up so it’s great seeing her. MG OMD has been working hard on its relationships with media owners and I feel a bit guilty that I couldn’t make all their events. I shall try harder.


Straight to Farringdon for a business review with Starcom with the chief executive Pippa [Glucklich] and team. We’re making progress in many product areas and spend a lot of time thinking about key client initiatives and shaping the business into 2018.

Back to the office and it’s two hours of trading meetings; firstly with my management team and then the UK management team. I love these meetings, the depth of knowledge and market intelligence from multiple sectors around the table is great to listen to.

Quick lunch in our ninth floor cafe with Alison Lomax who runs our lifestyle vertical before a meeting with our marketing team. We’ve got a whole bunch of stuff planned for the second half of the year across many different areas and audiences.

I make a start on the Media Agency of the Year entries – it’s been a tougher year than usual but the standard is brilliant, it’s going to be difficult deciding.

A quick drink with Dan Robb, chief executive at, before I head to Hoxton Square for a wedding between a colleague and ex-colleague. Full of old friends, champagne, an amazing band (and some dodgy dancing from yours truly). I manage to get an early-ish train home as I’m taking 12 girls aged 9-11 to the cinema at 9am tomorrow. Wish me luck…

Matt Bush is the director of agencies at Google UK.


Age: 42

Favourite media: Topical so I’m going BBC – I know this isn’t a popular option at the moment but it constantly gets a kicking from those with agendas against it so someone has to stick up for it. It’s bloody brilliant.

My biggest inspiration: My granddad, shame he’s no longer with us.

Dream job: Captain of Tottenham Hotspur (I’d play anywhere they’d put me).

Not a lot of people know this about me… John Bush left Essex in 1593 for the US where he founded a dynasty that led to George and George W in the White House. My dad has traced our family tree to Essex in the early 1600s and is convinced there’s a link. Yeah I know it’s tenuous, but these days those Bush boys look like geniuses.

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